How Do You Feel?

Attached here is a translated document found washed up by the shores in a glass bottle belonging to an otherwise unknown trading company.

Words can't describe the profound... mix of emotions I feel right now.

Everything feels wrong. Everything isn't as it should be. All of this should not have happened. I don't know what to do. I don't know what I can do, except just sit here on this bloody crate and take it as it is. What kind of twisted ending to my fairytale story is this? Gods, what kind of fucked up conclusion am I being punished with?

It's not just me, either. I'm not the only one who feels the same way. Everyone on this ship - the survivors of the massacre - is shaken by this horrible disaster. This... calamity that we had all been told we had averted. It's bullshit. It's completely unfair! I can't take this. I can't accept this. Have my prayers just been discarded like trash?

Okay. Let me start from the beginning, since I left behind my old journal. The beginning of the end, that is.

So, it all started three days after the final victory. Everything was great-ish; Ihenis was king, but I suppose he was better than Father. Caladria returned to her people and Miriam went to the desert to pay her people a visit. At this point in time, the most stressful event was wedding planning. Reim and El were getting married, after all. Edrelsa had maintained her ruse as my handmaiden well thus far, so I thought things were going spectacular.

Then, yesterday morning, I find out Edrelsa hadn't left her quarters. Strange, I thought, as she was an early bird most of the time. Maybe she was ill; maybe she had slept in. Whatever it was, I was determined to see if she was well. So, I put on my dress with the aid of my other handmaidens and we made our way to her room, knocking on her door. For a while, we didn't get an answer. Only when we entered without permission did we understand why: her window was wide open and her bed was empty.

I feared the worst I could have feared at that time. Had she jumped? Had she done something rash again? I peered out the window to find nothing in particular that could satisfy my curiosities. Then, Morganna burst into the room. She was frantic, out of breath and more disheveled than I had ever seen. By then, I was already rather worried. Morganna was never messy.

She told us that we needed to evacuate the palace. I didn't understand why; she had been in Uyr'Dassan, the desert, for the last few weeks. What could have happened for her to come back? I asked her, of course.

"We're all going to die!" was her response. She took off without a word, screaming about how she needed to inform the rest of the palace dwellers. Naturally, I followed her. All the way to the bloody roof. My legs were like jelly at that point. When we found ourselves on the roof, however, a grisly sight greeted us.

Ynnai stood over Edrelsa's corpse, holding a encrusted dagger etched with runes over her lifeless body. Blood pooled around my friend and who I believed was a motherly figure smiled sadistically. There was a darkness in her eyes; I couldn't explain it, but thinking back, it had always been there. Gods, we were all so blind and foolish.

Elora was there as well, though unconscious. She lay in her own pool of blood. Can you imagine that? The new Voidwitch, heiress of an ancient power that predates recorded time, was on the floor. Granted, perhaps Ynnai had downed her but gods, seeing that sent chills down my spine. Then, Ynnai began ranting about Her.

Fuck it, if she's coming to kill us all, we might as well use Her name.

Ishora. Ynnai was ranting about Ishora and how the Prophecy of the End could never be averted; only delayed. She said it was time, and that once Ishora was finished, life would begin anew, sprouting from the ashes of the world before. Or something. She let out this... wicked cackle and jumps off the roof. We couldn't do anything, even if we wanted to. Edrelsa was dead, but Elora still lived.

Then, everything happened so fast. The guards rushed in; my brothers, Ihenis and Reim, trailed after them. When Reim saw Elora, though, he let out a cry of distress I had never heard from him before. He collapsed by her side and cradled her head in his lap. It was sad, really. I should have wept too. She was my friend, after all.

Maybe I'm still in shock. I don't feel sad. I only feel anger.

I could tell Elora didn't have long. They had a hushed conversation and before I could tell what happened, she held his hand and this utterly horrid feeling filled me up. My very toes wanted to curl inside out and all my hairs felt like falling off. It was unlike anything I had ever felt. When it was over, Reimour was on the floor, limp and no longer breathing. Now, it was Elora's turn to weep over him.

Ihenis was rabid. I was confused. Morganna was... sorrowful. She explained to me that, at some point, they had established a link between their vitalities; when one perished, the other could feed them their own life. It was a special hex only a Voidwitch could cast. I was ever more perplexed; Elora wouldn't have done something like that. Even now, I question what really happened there.

There was no stopping it, you know. Elora herself could have... unloaded all her willpower. Nothing could have been done. That pisses me off the most; we watched our world come to an end even though we had sacrificed so much to avert it. And now, I find out it was inevitable! We were doomed either way. Can you imagine that? Being given a choice and then being told that whatever you chose, you would suffer the same fate? What kind of "choice" was that?

We watched the sky split open. For a moment, we were all terrified; had our very reality shattered? No; what we saw gave us hope. The host of our gods descended; Atos, Kleria, Ashari, Pathea, Iman, Skanne, Aisos, Arthanum... all 22. Wonderful, we all cheered. We're being saved by the gods themselves!

We watched as a single figure rose from the depths of the earth, completely obliterating the Black City. About 20000 lives, lost in the blink of an eye. This dark and swirling collection of shadows shambled towards us and the gods, leaving a whispering trail that foretold the end. Hah, we all scoffed. The gods are literally with us. She has no hope.

We watched as the 22 descended on her.

We watched as, one by one, they were enveloped and consumed by her darkness.

We watched as she reached for Iman and melted into him, warping their essences and welding their divine forms. We said nothing now. What could we have shouted?

Ishora was no more. In her place, the one true deity that superceded them all: Ishan, the Legacy of the Beginning and the Signal of the End.

I was the only one of my entire family to have made it out alive. Ihenis died.

Now, I sit on the ship of a pirate captain; Meeran, as Miriam had called him. She's not with us; I don't know what happened to her. It's me, Morganna, our servants, a few of the nobles and the pirate crew.

Elora was gone as well. In a fit of rage and panic, she ripped open this Voidrift and vanished into it. I want to hate her for it. I want to hate her for leaving us like that. In her place, however, I'm not sure I wouldn't have done the same.

Morganna said the witches of the desert survived. They warped the entire mass of sand and stone into the Void, dooming themselves to eternally floating through the Outer Realms. That's not "surviving", if you ask me. I assume Miriam followed them. I don't know anymore.

The mists of Adradam hide our homeland from us now. I can't feel its beating heart. The beating heart of the Hearth; the wellspring of magick that floods our veins. Adradam is dead. The gods are dead. Almost everyone I love is dead. There is no value in prayer anymore. The old gods will never awaken once more and our gods are gone. Only Ishora and Iman remain; a united force of destruction destined to reap the rest of this world.

I don't know what will happen to us now. Perhaps we will sail uncharted seas until our supplies run out and we all die. Perhaps a plague will fall upon us and wipe us all out. Perhaps a sea monster will assail us and sink our vessel. One thing is for certain; for the first time in my entire life of 17 years, I am alone and we are all stripped of everything we held dear. Everything we prided ourselves on.

We have nothing but the clothes on our backs and no one but each other.

That won't be enough. I don't think so anyway.

This is my final entry. There's nothing more I would like to record in my journal. I had wanted to list a progressively hopeful fairytale, but I see now that there will be no happy endings for us. What's the point in writing down anything else? What's the point in anything if we're just going to keep suffering and die one day so our children can carry our burdens to the next generation?

This is... Elthala. Just Elthala now. There's nothing left of my identity. It's all been erased. Even my hope for a brighter future.

Signed, Elthala